Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  February 7, 2012 10:00am-1:00pm EST

10:00 am
ethics committee. we also engaged in a lot of litigation using the freedom of information act. requeste fec's budget in 2012 was about $67 million. quickly, because the house is about to come in, do you think the fec has enough funds to do its job? guest: the fec is simply not doing its job. we to make sure this election is handled fairly thank you so much for joining us. the we go live to the house floor. c-span2 c-span3 the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. february 7, 2012. i hereby appoint the honorable
10:01 am
todd c. young to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january 17, 2012, the chair will now recognize members from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate. the chair will alternative recognition between the -- alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and minority whip limited to five minutes each but in no event shall debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. dreier, for five minutes. mr. dreier: thank you very much, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i was very sad to get the news last friday of the passing of our former colleague, congressman jim lloyd. jim lloyd and i began as
10:02 am
political adversaries in the late 1970's and early 1980's, and we ended up as great friends and allies on a wide range of issues. jim was a dedicated patriot. he was a public servant. and had a very distinguished military record as well. politically he began as the mayor of west can vina -- cavina, california, and many said he indicated right then he wanted to have an opportunity to serve in the united states house of representatives. he also served as a navy fighter pilot and, mr. speaker, i had a conversation with his son, ryan, last night, and his grandson, seth, and jim was able to spend his last moments on this earth with his grandson who was following in his footsteps. his grandson, seth, is a
10:03 am
graduate of the u.s. naval academy at annapolis and is now training at pensacola, florida. jim had driven across the country and was visiting seth and had just been with him before he suffered a massive stroke and drove off the road ending his life as a hero. his son, brian, told me last night that there was a woman who was in the way of the car and even though his foot had gone to the accelerator and he suffered this stroke, he was still a hero in that he was able to steer the car out from -- away from hitting this woman before it went into a ravine. last summer his wife of 63 years, jackie, his great ally, passed away. and jim told me when we had a lengthy conversation following her passing that it was as if half of him was gone. and so, mr. speaker, i have to
10:04 am
say that jim lived a very full 89 years. and he was a very distinguished member of this institution. serving on the armed services committee and as a member of the science and technology committee where he chaired a subcommittee, and he made a great mark on many very, very important questions that we faced. and i have to say that it was privilege for me, again, having begun as an adversary of his to have ended a very close and dear friend and political ally. and i have to say also that there are many people here in this capitol who knew him and worked with him even though he left more than three decades ago. but i have to say mary clapa, who now works for our colleague, john mica, who was the one who informed me of this sad news, and the many others who worked with jim lloyd who was so dedicated to constituent service and provided an example and model for me that our thoughts and prayers are with
10:05 am
all of you. thank you very much, mr. speaker. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from connecticut, mr. courtney, for five minutes. mr. courtney: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, 2011 marked an unfortunate milestone in our country's financial picture when for the first time in american history student loan debt actually exceeded credit card debt, which by itself is a huge statement in terms of the challenges that families, middle class families and working families are facing today in terms of trying to deal with the cost of higher education. the value of a higher education degree or post high school degree which is sometimes debated in the media still i believe is indisputable and the statistics certainly demonstrate that. at a time when our national unemployment rate is 8.3%, if
10:06 am
you drill down deeper you'll learn that those with only a high school degree, the unemployment rate is 16.5%. that's less than a high school degree. those with a high school degree it's 10.7%. those with some college it's 8.5%. and those with a bachelor's degree or higher is 4.5%. so the stakes could not be higher for young people all across our country that we must deal with the mounting cost of higher education and provide mechanisms for them and their families to actually finance it and pay for it. in 2007, the democratic controlled congress passed the college cost reduction act which was a terrific measure that cut the interest rates for the stafford student loan program, the federally subsidized student loan program that provide some stability and affordability for middle class families from 6.8% down to 3.4%. in addition we unfroze the pell grant program which is the workhorse of paying for college
10:07 am
education. all of it paid for by eliminating wasteful subdies to -- subsidies to banks. that measure has a sunset this july. trt rate reduction of the college cost reduction act will in fact expire on july 1 unless congress acts. president obama in his state of the union address a few nights ago weighs this issue before all of us in the house and senate when he said, when kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. at a time when americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in july. mr. speaker, shortly after his address, myself and congressman peters from michigan introduced h.r. 3826, which is a measure which would extend the 3.4%, the lower interest rates on the stafford student loan program. in just a few days we have accumulated 55 co-sponsors to
10:08 am
this measure. again, the math is there crystal clear. if we do not act, if we do not maintain those interest rates at 3.8%, if congress does nothing, u.s. public interest research group has calculated for those students who take up the maximum $23,000 in subsidized student loans, their interest payments will increase by $5,200 over a 10-year repayment period and $11,300 offer a 20-year repayment period. now, if you told middle class families if congress doesn't act on a measure like this your out-of-poningt costs are going to go up $5,200 for taxes, there would be a huge hue and cry about the fact that congress must not let that happen. that is exactly the same situation that we face today with the stafford student loan program. again we know from the passage of the college cost reduction act that this is something that this body is capable of doing. this past weekend i was with a family who -- whose son is in
10:09 am
his junior year as an undergraduate, has almost perfect 4.0 grade average. very motivated to go into health care field, and he's already accumulated $100,000 in student loan debt. we as a nation must address this problem. the national college board, which traction graduation rates internationally, reminds us that back in the 1980's the u.s. was number one in the world in terms of graduate rates. we have fallen to number 12 according to the national college board, and the biggest reason that students are not finishing college is because of affordability and cost. again, the president laid out the challenge to the congress at the state of the union address. we must not allow stafford student loan interest rates to double on july 1. we should pass h.r. 3826. we should get that to the president so that colleges and universities can help families plan their tuition payments for the upcoming year and not allow this country to go back wards
10:10 am
in terms of making sure that we have the finest work force in the world. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chairman recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. nugent, for five minutes. mr. nugent: mr. speaker, i rise today to call upon the senate majority leader, democrat harry reid, he said no budget this year. the american people i guess don't deserve a budget. when this body, or the senate, on the 24th 6 january -- of january surpassed the 1,000th day they have yet to put a budget forward. and harry reid says, guess what, american public, you don't need one. even though this organization, this government is running at a 40% deficit, the senate majority leader, harry reid, says don't worry about it, we don't need a plan, we don't need a budget. even though small businesses have a budget, county and state officials have a budget, and you and i at home have a budget
10:11 am
that we have to depend upon to guide us as we move forward throughout our year. you know, we just can't wing it any longer, mr. reid. the american people demand more of us. the american people actually believe that the senate should take action on bills that we in the house have passed. now, american job creators, it's about what we are supposed to be doing here, not partisan politics. mr. reid, this body, this body has had more bipartisan support on bills that we have sent over to the senate only to see them die. to see no action at all. bills that could create jobs in america not hypothetical jobs, but real jobs by people that actually create jobs. those in our small businesses that create 70% of our new jobs in america. mr. reid, the american public demands more of us as an institution to reach across and
10:12 am
do the right thing. mr. reid, mr. speaker, all i can ask is that this body continues to put pressure upon the senate, and particularly the senate majority leader, mr. reid, to do the right thing. it doesn't matter if you pass the bills we send over to you, mr. reid. it's about bringing them up on the senate floor, debate them, let the american people see where you stand on the issues. and at the end of the day, whether you vote for it or against it, at least the american people have seen you in action. the other thing the senate can do is they can always amend any measure that we send over there. and send it back to us. not to say we always have the best idea, but i believe that the senate, brothers and sisters in the senate, could have some good ideas. attach them back. amend our bills. send it back to us for us to consider. even go to conversation if necessary. all we are asking is the united
10:13 am
states senate to take action on things that we, in the house, have passed. many in a very bipartisan way. many in a very bipartisan way. remember back on january 24 on the 1,000th day, this body here, this body, voted 410-1 to vote on a resolution calling upon the senate to pass a budget. that it's of national importance that we actually have a budget and the senatele is a participant in the discussions not just sitting on the sidelines expecting us to carry the water. mr. speaker, we stand here today imploring our members to do the right thing. let's keep the pressure on the senate to do the right thing. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: members are reminded to address their remarks to the chair and not to others in the second person. the chair recognizes the
10:14 am
gentlelady from ohio, ms. kaptur, for five minutes. ms. kaptur: thank you. mr. speaker, it's overtime for wall street megabanks, their c.e.o.'s, speculators, and sharpies to come and scrub the floors of homeless shelters across this country. that are crammed with people who have lost their homes. let's make those wall street bankers sign up to work with habitat for humanity to restore housing in neighborhoods across our nation. wouldn't that be sweet justice? once they paid back the billions that they owe the american people whose homes they raided of equity, let's put them to work. you know, wouldn't it be great to see the c.e.o. of goldman
10:15 am
sachs, i think his name is lloyd blankfein, out there with buckets and scrub brushes, come to toledo, come to cleveland, come to america, the part you have hurt so deeply. wouldn't it be great? let him be joined by josh bolten who was there when the bush administration handed the toxic paper to the people of the united states. well, come on down, angelo, from countrywide. i think a little hard work would help you a whole lot. . moub bank of america? how about the c.e.o. there? how about jpmorgan chase? how about jim johnson who headed up fannie mae or hank paulson? oh, i'd love to see this. you know, as i speak , coming to light between the individual state governments and the big
10:16 am
wall street banks over the widespread use of fraudulent schemes and missing paperwork that fueled the foreclosure crisis. as the presses reported, we are seeing the possible imposition of $25 billion in penalties against wells fargo, bank of america, jpmorgan chase, allied financial and citigroup. given the extent of the damage they caused, it's a small start. just in ohio the financing gap was $20 billion in what it would take to stabilize the housing market in just our state. most importantly, "the new york times" is reported that the deal will preserve the right to investigate past misdeeds by the banks. not one, not even the fightans of wall street should be -- not even the titans of wall street should be able to do this as millions of families lose their home. it is important that we do not forget how systemic mortgage fraud has become.
10:17 am
in an interview given by a former executive vice president of countrywide financial, a giant player in the u.s. mortgage business, this executive who was in charge of fraud investigations at the company related, and i quote, how countrywide loan officers were manipulating statements to help them get loans they weren't qualified for and couldn't afford. she went on to say that all of the recycle bins whenever we looked through those they were full of signatures that they had been cut off of one document and put onto another and photo copied or faxed. according to her the fraud was systemic taking place in boston, chicago, miami, los angeles, phoenix, parma and toledo and sandusky. what we cannot forget is that these stories are not isolated. the f.b.i. testified before congress as early as 2004 that they were seeing an epidemic in white-collar financial crimes and they did not have anywhere
10:18 am
near enough agents to go after the wrongdoers. wasn't that convenient? while the number of agents have increased due to congressional pressure, the f.b.i. needs to have more special agents and forensic experts to properly investigate the amount of accounting corruption that is believed to have exist. this is the most bipartisan concept that i can think of that criminals cannot be allowed to get away with their crimes because our law enforcement agencies lack the manpower to stop them. i have a bill my colleagues can support, the criminal investigation act that would authorize an additional 1,000 f.b.i. agents to take on the kinds of fraud that have destroyed the economic futures of countless american families and so grateful harmed our republic. a good first step was the inclusion of more than 200 additional agents in the last appropriations cycle. this administration should use it to go after these wall street perpetrators. the president announced during his state of the union address a new working group to look into mortgage fraud.
10:19 am
it will coordinate efforts between the f.b.i., the justice department and various states to go after those on wall street who have perpetuated fraud in the markets using mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and loss of other sophisticated financial tricks. given the seriousness of the fraud, the number of american families that have lost their homes and savings and the drag that that foreclosure crisis continues to have on our economy means we need more individual ledge. let's -- vigilance. let's confront wall street. let's have them scrub floors in this new year. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back my remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, mr. speaker. this week people from dozens of cities around america are gathering for the annual
10:20 am
streetcar summit. for the last 20 years i've been working to reintroduce the modern streetcar to american communities. we started with a project in portland, oregon, over 25 years ago, and it was a great pleasure for me to see this open in 2001 and watched how this streetcar investment anchored revitalization in the downtown led to over $3 billion of private and public investment along the right-of-way, encouraged millions of people to ride the streetcar and developed into a signature project for our community. more recently, with the new administration -- when the new administration was sworn into office, i worked with the white house to implement legislation that i had in the last re-authorization, we called small starts, which somehow had
10:21 am
stalled. within four months the new administration was able to help us figure out how to move it forward, and in october of 2009, we were able to sign an agreement with the obama administration and start a project. and i'm pleased to report that this project, which is provided over 1,800 jobs, that is extended three in the third mile line in the streetcar, will be open and in fact we've invited president obama to ride on this. he can ride this year in a project that started in the first year in his administration, completed project, and as an added bonus, he would be able to ride the first american-built streetcar in 58 years. while it's manufactured in portland, oregon, i say with some modest pride, it makes a
10:22 am
difference for people around the country because it's going to be provided to other communities like tucson, arizona, in the project that we worked on with our former colleague, gabby giffords, and somebody contracting is occurring throughout the upper midwest where smaller manufacturers are helping construct this project -- this product made in america. we are seeing as a result of the administration's investment of $419 million since october of 2009, we're watching projects take place in 10 cities across america -- in detroit, cincinnati, st. louis, salt lake, that's moving forward with this vision. and indeed, the people in the conference that will be here this week represent operating systems that are now in
10:23 am
seattle, san francisco, galveston, little rock, memphis, new orleans, lowell, massachusetts, kenosha, wisconsin. there are communities all across america who've seen this vision moving forward, and they are coming together to deal with how communities, large and small, can seize on this proven technology that was after all the cornerstone of urban development long about 1900, of this -- this was the technology that was driving community technology development. while it still can provide technology development, provide tens of thousands of jobs, be able to help focus the revitalization of some -- in some areas troubled neighborhoods. it's an opportunity to bring people together on the street escape, to be able to give a --
10:24 am
streetscape, to be able to give jobs, preventing pollution, congestion, in many cases a trip not taken. i strongly urge my colleagues when the opportunity arises this week to meet some of the people in the vanguard of america's new streetcar renaissance, a simple, commonsense, proven technology that's cost-effective, that provides an anchor for development and giving people an opportunity another choice to the residents, empowering them, making their neighborhoods more livable, their families safer, healthier and more economically secure. this is what this congress should be working on, coming together to take projects like this, a constructive federal partnership, stretching dollars and making a success that we
10:25 am
can all be proud of. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until noon today.
10:26 am
from the president and give it to the federal energy regulatory commission. the president denied transcanada is application to build the pipeline. the hearing is under way. we are covering that ono thatrg. also, the fourth meeting of the conference committee on the payroll tax cuts. trying to reach an agreement on extending the payroll tax cut for workers paying into social security as well as long-term unemployment aid in the medicare payments to doctors. while both parties agree on the need for an extension, there is still disagreement on how to pay for it. the conference committee got under way about 10 minutes ago.
10:27 am
we go live as we wait for the house to return at noon. >> let's take a look. if those working for the federal government and make sure we do not treat them unfairly. i know you put on the schedule on the pay freeze. i have to point out, the house bill came over to us with other offsets for the federal workforce including significant changes in their retirement calculation. the camera to the fact of what you put in would have a major negative impact on our federal workforce. i want to talk about fairness. i want to talk about how fair it would be to tell federal workers that, yes, we're doing this payroll tax holiday so you'll get more money in your paycheck. by the way, you will lose more than that and pay more than that through this pay freeze over time. that is basically what we're telling our federal workforce. the note income families working for the government will not get the benefit of the payroll tax
10:28 am
holiday. that makes no sense from the view of fairness. the relief is temporary. it will last to the end of 2012. the pay freeze is permanent damage. where is fairness? we have a challenge with the federal budget, i understand that. that is not the issue before the conference committee. the issue is whether we are granting extend tax relief to middle income families, whether we're going to do with the protections of unemployment insurance, make sure our seniors have access to doctors. that is the focus of this conference, not the deal the underlining budget problems of our nation. i hope we get to that discussion. i hope with a $4 trillion of deficit-reduction and a balanced and fair way. but we start using the federal worker here, it tells me we are not serious about deficit reduction and coming together
10:29 am
with a balanced approach. let me talk about fairness. i don't know how many of us can go back to our districts and tell our border security patrol people, are fbi agents, or our nih researchers that we are going to freeze their salary, but the hedge fund operators on wall street, and those who have made obscene amounts of money during this recession, they will keep their tax rates just where they are now bred by the way, is lower than your tax rates. and by the way, we will put another freeze on your salary. when they get the benefits -- where is the fairness? mr. chairman, i urge us as quickly as possible to put this that issue aside. it should not be in our proposal. i think it is a front to the
10:30 am
fairness of in making sure all of this contributes. our federal workers have already had a two-year pay freeze. >> thank you. i think i will defer to our house colleagues. >> mr. levin. >> i am going to ask you to discuss this, but i don't think we should only ask those who have a higher percentage of federal employees than the rest of us to carry the entire load. this is an issue that affects all of us and all of the country. there are federal employees
10:31 am
working everywhere. and i think what's ben cardin said is not a parochial. and what chris allen is going to say is not at all parochial. it is something that is national. in that regard, i just want to point now the three issues we are discussing today, basically , hit middle income tax payers. there are a few exceptions. i suppose there are some federal employees that would not be classified as a matter and come, but there are very, very few. and for the bulk, they're very much middle income taxpayers and middle-class and families. and when we talk about health care and pension benefits for
10:32 am
federal employees, those benefits have helped them become an important part of the middle-class of this country. and all three of these items on the agenda the day essentially would hit middle income taxpayers. the freeze, the health care coverage provision, and medicare payments. i want to pick up, before i turn it over to chris -- >> your but of the apple may be too large if you do not concluded soon. we're trying to keep this even print the two bites of the apple. >> you finish and let them go. >> then we will come around. >> i was not sure about bites of the apple. >> now you know.
10:33 am
>> let me say a word about the urgency of this. i want to pick up what max baucus said and others. we must reach agreement, and we must reach agreement for 10 months. i think that means we need to resist finger-pointing, and instead, really work very hard together. the urgency demands it. all right, i will let the next bite of the apple be postponed. >> i think mr. upton is seeking recognition. >> the light does not work, but the microphone is andrea de i want to said just a couple of things. this provision is within the scope of the agreement of the
10:34 am
conference because we included it, you will recall, in the house-passed bill. when it a separate issue and it passed nearly three to one. i would compliment my colleague from pennsylvania for voting for it last week, as i recall. 99% of federal employees that were eligible last year for a step increase -- all have the table and know where they are, step one, etc. -- nearly 99% who were eligible for a step increase in fact got it last year, an increase that average $1,300 per person. our rules in the house, if you have more spending, you have to have the offsets. this is eligible, part of the agreement, a pretty sizable offset that we on this side
10:35 am
certainly on the republican but really on the house side, are looking at. i would say the median household income this last year was $52,000. some may be as we look for an agreement, even though many of us would support a total pay freeze on federal employees, maybe look at just that those workers of earning more than $52,000, which would include members of congress, to say that should be included as an offset for this new spending. look, americans across the country are looking for congress to sacrifice, too. we had an amendment on the house floor that cut congress's spending below what it was the year before and we did it again this year, as part of our budget. so federal workers know that
10:36 am
they are being asked to sacrifice here, but in return, we're trying to make sure the deficit does not go up knowing which took concrete steps this last year and discussed a spending to make sure it did not. i yield back. >> senator baucus. >> anybody? we go back to you. >> just briefly, those with professional degrees who work for the federal government are the ones that are in greatest risk of us losing their talent. we're talking about the researchers at nih, scientists who commit more money in the private sector. i resist at trying to draw a line as far as the pay issue is concerned. that relates to members of congress, you will not get any
10:37 am
disagreement. we fully expect there will be a vehicle has to go through the appropriation process to deal with that issue. i do not think we should confuse the issue of the federal work force with members of congress. let's not put them in the same category we are in. >> if there's no further speakers, mr. 11 >> a think commander -- senator casey. >> we're trying to have one speaker per side. if there's a senate republican who would like to speak, i think that is who is up next. >> i would not get to locked in, because the goal is to let people speak their piece. >> just a couple of items. the statistics from crs and the
10:38 am
office of personnel management are what they are. federal employees on average make a whole lot more than people in the private sector. the taxpayers that pay our salaries would like to see some shared sacrifice here but what happened to the concept with heard about shared sacrifice? people on social security did not receive an increase in two years. they understood the reason for that. arizona public employees have not received an increase in five years. the reality is, washington -- the people who work in washington are very well paid, and we have very good benefits. the people that pay their salaries are the ones that are going to be are going to be making a lot of difference sacrifices in many ways. i think is fair to ask federal employees to make a sacrifice as well.
10:39 am
at the end of another year, there will have been a two-year pay freeze. we have not had that yet. the commission said we should have a three-year pay freeze. i have heard how wonderful the recommendations from the commission are, except maybe when it comes to this. there are many reasons why i think would be perfectly appropriate to make the federal employees to be part of the sacrifice. i & why the two representatives to represent more of the federal employes and the rest of us would be making the arguments that they are. i probably would be making them as part of an effort as well. i think we have to view ourselves as representatives of the whole country. it seems fair to me that we extend for relatively short time, the relatively high level of payment with no increase for federal employees.
10:40 am
>> mr. levin. >> chris, i just want to say, there are federal employees everywhere. the house proposal that passed on a partisan basis, there were only a handful of democrats -- i am talking about the proposal that came over from the house on federal employees $63 billion. there are two proposals. we all have federal employees everywhere. >> thank you. i think we all benefit from the federal employees who were doing research at nih into life-saving cures and treatments. i think we all benefit from the folks in the intelligence community who help track down osama bin laden. i don't think this is an issue of whether or not we represent a small number or a lot of federal
10:41 am
employees. i think the american people benefit from that. let's start with the vote that mr. capt. referenced in the house. the reason that had such a big vote, i think the gentleman knows, because you called a freeze on congressional salaries with a freeze on all federal employee salaries. we can settle the question of the pay freeze for congressional salaries. we can support that. but let's not mix of the two. the reason you have that vote, and i heard from many of my colleagues that they were afraid of being accused of trying to protect their own pay if they voted against that provision. let me briefly get to the threshold question here as to offsets. i don't want to go into great detail, because we have had this conversation before. but we do have this in standard
10:42 am
being applied to payroll tax cuts. the majority in the house in their free first act changed the rules to say that when it comes to tax cuts for folks at the top, we don't have to pay for them. a week of another dollars trillion on the national credit card by extending the tax cuts for the folks of the top. -- we can add another $one trillion on the national credit card by extending the tax cuts for the folks at the top. then we have a different standard. when we are considering offsets, we should look at some of the offsets that have been suggested by our democratic colleagues are originally in the senate with the surcharge and other proposals to close corporate tax loopholes. i say that i was imagining federal employees are prepared to sacrifice.
10:43 am
federal employees recognize they have to be part of the solution. federal employees have seen a two-year pay freeze, which is about $60 billion. social security recipients are getting their colas. the president has proposed not a full cola, 1/2%, which still represents $18 billion dedicated toward deficit-reduction. $18 billion cut. the comes to $60 billion plus $18 million, which is $78 billion that federal employes would contribute toward deficit- reduction, as they should. the question here is not whether federal employes are born to be part of the solution, but whether they should be singled out as the piggy bank for all these other issues? if you look at other legislation through the house and maybe the senate, they seem to be the main target.
10:44 am
about federalg employes and the transportation bill. they may be an easy target for many, but i think it is counterproductive to move in that direction. i want to call about a couple of studies. there have been many on this issue. this has come up in the context of the joint committee and other deficit-reduction efforts. really what we need to do is take a comprehensive look at this issue. if you the that the federal salary council, if you look at the bureau of labor statistics data, they show federal employees on average are underpaid by 26%. what is the difference? the methodology you use. with the bureau of labor statistics federal seller council looks at the responsibility of the job of a particular federal employee and try and compare that to federal
10:45 am
jobs with similar responsibilities. for example, you have someone who has been a pediatrician thing goes to work at nih, supervising about 30 or 40 researchers in the area trying to find cures and treatments for cancer. when the folks of the federal seller counsel look at that, they see not just a solo practitioner pediatrician, but someone who also has responsibility for managing 30 people. it seems to me that is a reasonable distinction to be made, that that person is not just comparable pay to a pediatrician, but someone managing people in the private sector. take a simple prison cook. you could say, they should receive this amount of money as a cook anywhere and any other institution. the reality is, they also have to be trained to take care of violence in the prison or any
10:46 am
other kind of outbreak. that is why you have big disparities in the different studies done. federal salary council says on average, when you compare actual job responsibilities, federal employees are on average 26% underpaid. now you have the cbo study that simply looks at demographic characteristics. so if women on average are underpaid in the work force, if there's a discrepancy, if we do not have the equity in the general work force, that would translate through in the same analysis. that is a different approach. what it also shows is, they agree with respect to highly skilled workers, you have people underpaid. every study shows with highly skilled workers, you have people who are underpaid in the federal workforce. in fact, according to cbo
10:47 am
analysis, it was approximately 18% underpaid. so some of the folks the federal government is trying to recruit and some of the most sensitive positions in the federal government are underpaid. these are people i would think we would want to make sure we're able to continue to have in the federal government. so to take a hatchet approach and say our solution is an across the board had to approach, is the wrong way. even if we were to try to segment out groups here, i think that would be a mistake in the sense that this is an area that requires a more comprehensive view. people have proposed taking the study, looking at the discrepancies, really getting to the bottom of this rather than taking an across-the-board whack. it seems to be the flavor of the day to go after federal employees, but i think it is a short-sighted approach and i would urge my colleagues to step
10:48 am
back, ask yourself the question why there are these discrepancies between different studies and take a comprehensive look at this issue before we plunge in and do what i think could be great long-term damage, not so much to the federal workforce, but to the country. because if we do not make these decisions in a smart way, ultimately, the taxpayers will be hurt because they are not going to be a behalf the set of skills necessary to make sure the federal employees can do the job that needs to be done. >> thank you. dr. price. >> i tell you the taxpayers being hurt right now are all the american taxpayers, by the policies adopted by this congress and a lack of responsibility when it comes to spending. nobody is criticizing the work federal workers are doing. they do great work.
10:49 am
i have a bunch of my district as well. i commend you for standing up for your constituents. however, folks at home are looking at us and saying, what the heck is going on? we believe these policies are appropriate, that an extension of the temporary payroll tax holiday is a proper policy. however, we don't believe we should do it without paying for it. we don't believe it ought to be paid for with money we just don't have. so the american people say, find the money. we know there is money there. find the money. the house bill is an honest, sincere, positive attempt to try to get this moving and the right direction when it comes to spending here in washington by having inappropriate offset. so far, the argument -- by
10:50 am
having a proper it offsets a. the numbers are clear. the office of personnel management steady in october 2011, the average federal government salary was $75,614. which is commendable. but the average salary out there in the real world is $52,000. so the average federal worker makes about 45% more than the average individual out there in the private sector. half million federal employes make over $100,000. a half million. that is actually increased 36% the number of folks who make over $100,000 since the recession began. a lot of the statistics, it is incomprehensible to me, u.s. to permit of transportation. which when the recession began had one individual who's hours
10:51 am
over $170,000. and now, 18 months later, 1690 individuals making over $170,000. they may all be being appropriately compensated, however, i think when the american people look at this and know the tightening of the belt they have had to undergo, and the conversations they had around the kitchen table, when they say, i don't know how we're on a bill to send our child to college, i don't know how we can make our car payments so we think it to the second jump, i don't know how we can do that -- so when they look to us around this table, it is incomprehensible to them cannot figure out how to pay for this out of another pot. this is one that clearly there is room for improvement. i think is important as, what
10:52 am
has happened the past? go a distant past. 1933, franklin roosevelt put in place a pay cut, not a pay freeze, for federal workers. it was a time in the early 1930's when i think folks could argue it was not dissimilar to where we are now. the bowles-simpson commission has been mentioned, recommending a three-year pay freeze. this is not out of the ordinary. it has been touted by folks on both sides of the aisle right here around this table within the last week to 10 days, so i think we need to recognize that others who've looked at this issue may be outside the bright spotlight and outside the cameras and house of the muck funds and said, look, it is reasonable -- outside the microphones and say, look, it is reasonable. the pay freeze is just the cost of living adjustment. it is what our seniors have done
10:53 am
for the last two years in this country. they have not had a cola increase in social security. we all want to pay for these policies. we all of these policies to occur, but we need to pay for with money we have, not money we don't have. i yield back. >> senator reid. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think the point deserves to be reinforced, if you look at the pay scales of federal workers, lower-paid workers tend to make more than lower-paid workers and the private sector. i think that is a reflection of what has been happening in the private sector as wages have basically not increased. benefits have not increased. as a result, the differential goes back to one of the issues
10:54 am
that a lot of people talk about, the growing inequality in this country. from my standpoint, cooks in federal correctional facilities that not only cut but had to be prepared to do other things, are probably being fairly paid. but on the other side of the equation, where high skilled federal workers receive much less, and there are many examples of this. frankly, we are asking people at the securities exchange commission who are receiving a sort of high levels of pay relative to federal workers, compared their pay with people they regulate. compare the facility, the computer systems, the institutional support they have with the people they are trying to regulate. there's no comparison. if we want to attract good
10:55 am
people into the federal government, to have the intellectual capacity and skills to essentially regulate effectively and fairly, this is sending -- this is not sending the right signal. again, finally, when this argument is tied up with congressional -- there's no one around this table that does not understand we have to lead by example. but when you look at the federal workforce, i think you have to recognize that their highly confident. everyone in this room will say it. when they go back to michigan and look at the federal workers in michigan, they're doing a great job. they are struggling. when you go down to different facilities and rhode island, the very, very talented people. frankly, like everyone, they certainly want to be paid. but there's a certain dedication
10:56 am
there committing beyond just the paycheck. i have seen that in civilians a different agencies. they have a public duty. when we are not focusing on trying to pay for these necessary, in my view, tax cuts for middle income working americans, but also looking on the revenue side for people who get much more compensation and federal workers, and i think we're not doing what is effective and appropriate. >> mr. reid senator baucus, i don't know if there's a senator republican who wants to speak. >> same subject? >> we're on the same subject. >> apparently not. go ahead. >> thank you very much. i want to look at this may be
10:57 am
from a different perspective. the question of pay for and how we will reach a compromise. i think we look at this, we have to ask a couple of basic questions. number one, how do get a compromise that will result in a payroll tax cut, first and foremost? how do we do that in a way that is reasonable and fair? how'd we do it in the time within which we have? i think we have to start from the basics. if the goal is to get a payroll tax cut, which i think we all share, in place, we know the folks will benefit most from that are folks from the middle who have had a tough time. what i believe, based upon legislation i introduced, the first bill i introduced at the end of last year had a surcharge and incomes of up 1
10:58 am
million at 3.25%. we got 50 votes in the senate. we tried it again. before it -- between the first and second vote, i dropped the 3.25% surcharge to 1.9%. it is evident from that legislation that i think the payroll tax cut, or at least part of it, should be paid for by enacting a surcharge incomes above $1 million. the operative word, above $1 million. i think those folks can help us share the burden, not just the burden of paying for something, but the burden of continuing the recovery by helping directly to 160 million american workers. so i said i dropped down the surcharge proposal to 1.9%.
10:59 am
that would have raised $145 billion, more than enough to cover not only the extension of the payroll tax cut we're here to resolve, but more than that. so that was an attempt at compromise. that was rejected. we still got about 50 votes or i think 51. here's the reason what i think a lot of americans believe this makes sense. this is a reasonable way to help us at this time. there is a direct connection between a reasonable surcharge and direct help for one at a 60 million workers. it is not as if we're saying, a surcharge would go to some broad, general fund and no one knows quite where it is going. i think that directness is what people are supportive of this.
11:00 am
secondly, i think a compromise here is essential. both sides have to figure out a way to compromise, to come to some conclusion about the principal issue we face, which is making sure the payroll tax cut is in place. cut is in place. we need to come together. we need to compromise. in terms of the legislation, i would like a 2.5% surcharge to drop to 1.9%. 1 not in -- why not in the interest of trying to solve this, why not have a surcharge for incomes above $1 million? i am told by my staff -- we can check this again -- that would result in $76.3 billion. and put that on the table for your consideration. >> thank you. >> before i go to mr. levin,
11:01 am
just want to say the proposal you put forward has billed the senate several times. it did pass the house with bipartisan support. that is why that is something that has to be considered. mr. levin? i know we are running out of time. i know there are several speakers on the house side that would like to speak. >> on terms of average, the average income of the hedge fund taxpayer is probably 10 times to 20 times that of a federal employee. so, if we want to talk about fairness, let's speak were broadly. the average. i am sure that is true. >> alright. they pay their salary. >> thank you, mr. levin. >> what? >> i think there is a difference -- why don't we let my colleague
11:02 am
make his remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. to me, too rapid a look into what we are supposed to do, does this proposal advance our mission? as far as i can tell, our best tactic is to keep the economy moving forward, rewarding it the hard work of the people who need to make this country be -- even though it has been very tough, helping our middle-class families moving forward, and certainly finding a common-sense solution. and i know we just said the proposal left before us, to tax middle-class workers, up has been proposed before and it had bipartisan support.
11:03 am
there are two answers to that. if you cloak the proposal with the faces of the members of congress taking the hit, certainly a lot of people will vote for. if you remove the faces of the members of congress and leave it what it really is, the bulk of the money coming out of the hides of almost 3 million american workers, most of the middle class, i think most americans would say no. this is not how we want the payroll tax cut to move forward, to essentially get 160 million americans who work the chance to get the payroll tax cut, but doing it by asking close to 3 million american workers to pay for a. they will be getting a payroll tax cuts on their paycheck in one instance at the same time close to 3 million american workers would see a cut in their pay and benefits to cover the 2% payroll tax cut they would be received -- it would be
11:04 am
receiving. i do not think this is how most americans would want us to do business. i think it would not be fair to create the tax cut for 160 million americans by asking 3 million americans to take the hit for the. -- to take the hit for them. we have until the end of this month, the 20 of us, to come up with a solution. to my thinking, what senator casey's has proposed as a great deal of resonance, and i think it has a great deal of resonance with the american public. every two years, to contribute a little bit more. we think that would be a good way to do it. i am asking them to take a surcharge of less than 1% on income if they make more than $1 million. we could not only take care of
11:05 am
this, but probably some of the other things we wanted to in this package and those three big priorities we have, dealing with reimbursing are doctors and medicare so 40 million and get their services under medicare and helping americans who are out of work through no fault of the rahm. i hope that the solution that we come up with, that common sense to move us forward -- i hope this does not mean we are beginning a race to the bottom of solutions for americans. we need to lift up anyone in this country who is willing to work. let's elevate and help folks. we want to thank them. i urge moving beyond to something that is common sense and that we all can agree on bipartisan. >> before i invite one or house
11:06 am
member to close, with nearly 13 million americans out of work, you have the cbo issuing a letter or week or so alone -- a week or so ago, saying on average the federal workers are paid more than their private counterparts. it seems to me a cola freeze, still allowing federal workers to get step increases, is a reasonable approach. >> thank you, mr. chairman. yesterday, i was in paterson, new york. the business has been in the business up for 30 years locally in the valley and they export machines that create components
11:07 am
for manufacturing throughout the world. they are a great success story. i actually had occasion to find out about the burdens we place on our private enterprise, hard- working private enterprise sector throughout departmental policy, tax policy, fiscal, financial policy. the number-one problem the owner mentioned to me was to settle the deficit. this was the number one problem. he was trying to earn for his employees, for all those who rely on him, based on his inherent worth in the marketplace. he has to prove himself. his workers have to prove themselves every day. right now, it is a situation
11:08 am
analogous to a business who is far exceeded by its cost, and they have to ask for sacrifices, unfortunately from our employees. unlike the private sector, unlike the enterprise sector, the federal government coerces its operating resources out of the american public, and you cannot use -- will argue with one white. you cannot justify that role employees are paid a much higher rate on average that hardware and -- that federal employees are paid at a much higher rate on average than the average american employee he. and by the same token say that the private sector is something we can tap into. if government is the engine of growth, then we would not have the unemployment we do today.
11:09 am
we would not have 63.7% of the work force participating at this point. we would not have nearly 40 million americans either out of work or underemployed. nobody can argue that. by taking active dollars that would be put into the actual engine of growth and prosperity that pays for everything the federal government does, private enterprise, we would be further towards what we need to grow. right now the people who pay our federal salaries are at nearly $60,000 in the whole. -- in the hole. and that is why we are asking our employees to make a sacrifice. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much.
11:10 am
the the next item on our agenda is -- >> yes, i would like to make just one point here. we're talking here about discretionary spending. the budget control deficit pact, the debt control act in august cut discretionary spending $2 trillion. that is have been and half the sequester. $2 trillion. i supported a freeze on national pay. the proposal we're talking about here is the extension of the freeze that was in the act, and i do not know if it is wise and frankly -- i do not know if it is wise frankly and dig deep into non-defense discretionary. there are a lot of other places to find revenue.
11:11 am
just to remind us -- we have already cut $2 trillion in discretionary spending. which should not go so deep -- we should not go so deep that we are hurting people. the government can raise revenues elsewhere. >> i think the reason that this additional year is important is the president's commission on fiscal responsibility, the some symbols commission -- the sense and bowls commission -- sim pson-bowles commission reconciled federal pay. i think that is why it is important to consider this. let's move onto the next item on our agenda, the president's proposal to reduce the medicare subsidy for seniors. the policy would ask the -- >> chairman, i thought we were
11:12 am
going to -- >> i thought we were going to parts b and c. >> i had the wrong agenda. >> alright. they would pay it a little bit more to their part b and d premium . we will of 45 minutes to debate on this issue. we will begin with the senate. >> ok, basically, mr. chairman -- we see medicare beneficiary premiums by $45 billion -- reducing medicare benefits your premiums but for two billion dollars i believe is not good. we pay doctors more. we're taking it out of the hides
11:13 am
of beneficiaries, which does not seem to make much sense to make. docs by theo cut same amount, that is fairness. that is balanced. i do not know whether the american people think it is fair to pay more to doctors and to get out of the hides of seniors. i just do not think that is what you want to do. i will have more to say at another time, but let me just say i think it is totally unfair. there are other places you can find more fair and balanced of says dennis. we should not be -- more fair and balanced offsets it then as. we should not be penalizing seniors while increasing dr. pay
11:14 am
and making that adjustment here. anybody else want to speak? >> senate republicans? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will just speak briefly. my colleague wishes -- there are other ways to do it. the only other ways we hear our tax increases. i thought we all agreed that high income beneficiaries that are eligible for medical programs paid for by the taxpayers could afford to make some sacrifices here in receiving a little less in the way of benefits or paying a little bit more for what they received. we have all heard about warren buffet. i do not think taxpayers need to subsidize their annual -- his annual exam. this is what it is all about
11:15 am
keeping these high-income people do not need to receive the same medicare benefits as others. this is not a new idea. this is something the president proposed. this is something the white house proposed when we first began our discussions. back in the biden group. we all agreed to a. i do not know why all of a sudden now people want to put a surtax on millionaires to not want their medicare benefits affected. they do not need these medicare benefits. i think we're all in agreement on that. is just a question of how low you wanted to get. for millionaires and billionaires, you do not need to give them free medical care. this is what the president proposed. here is what he said. he pitched this whole thing. "to improve the stability of the medicare program by reducing the cost of subsidy from those
11:16 am
beneficiaries who can most afford them." the 20% increase for the eligible medicare part d subsidies, which we provide, and the part b subsidies. is seems only fair that we ask some of the people at the height and to pay a little more. as chairman baucus has said many times, we need to look at the entitlement side. well, this is the entitlement side. i think it is a no-brainer to say we believe that a hard- working taxpayers should not be subsidizing the cost of very wealthy, retired americans when those people cannot afford these medical benefits on their own. >> i would like to just add on theire.
11:17 am
there's a big difference between the so-called millionaire's surcharge and what is proposed here. millionaires are making $11 million. [laughter] these people do not make above $1 million. some day. most do not. -- some may. most do not. the current practice is ramped up. those incomes, $100,000 -- their medicare premium is 50%. date paid half. if your income is $160,000, it is 55%. that is a pretty good hit, frankly, for someone making that income.
11:18 am
and the proposal is to raise that significantly more, in effect the premium that folks will have to pay. that is why the house does not want medicare to the new sure it -- beneficiaries to pay for the payroll tax cap. we generally decide in this body to help pay for the sgr's. we do not want these offsets to pay for non-health person's. >> i would just say -- before i go to mr. levin -- listening to
11:19 am
the floor, but if discretionary spending is off the table, then we have mandatory spending. this is mandatory spending. we need to keep in mind. we are talking about retiree in come -- income. right now at $80,000, that will only hit 5% of the seniors with incomes. while we are throwing around the salary levels, it is important to keep in mind the retiree income levels. there are a significant amount of assets behind that. mr. levin? >> mr. chairman, i think it is useful we're having this discussion. i think all of us wants to exchange views and not
11:20 am
essentially say there is not any give on anything. so, let's have a good discussion about what this is really all about. all due respect, this is not about millionaires and billionaires. maybe some people who are millionaires are not having income over $1 million in a teeny tiny percentage of cases. we're talking about medicare beneficiaries who have income much, much, much less than $1 million per year. much less than $200,000. i think we should understand what the potential impact is.
11:21 am
people in the height middle income brackets -- in the high- middle income brackets will have paid more in many cases than though i -- how will have paid more in many cases than those in the low income brackets. that is the way the system works. they work in most cases. so, essentially what the house bill does is over time, because there is not an inflation factor, is going to increase the impact on middle income seniors. and they may be higher middle income seniors, but they are not the very wealthy, wealthy seniors.
11:22 am
so, the president proposes this as part of the a multi trillion dollar approached. what is being a pro -- what is being proposed here is part of the effort to extend these three major, major programs for the rest of this year. and what is being proposed here is a change that will ripple through for many, many, many years and have an increasing impact on taxpayers come up who i think in the vast majority of cases -- on taxpayers, who think in the vast majority of cases, consider themselves middle income and in the clear majority of cases are middle income. so, let's have a discussion of
11:23 am
what this is all about. is this mandatory? i do not think we should be impacting discretionary. when we impact with the mandatory, as senator baucus said he could do it in the right way, and i think the question is is this the right way when you look at all the factors for all these people under medicare? they are not millionaires in most cases. they surely aren't billionaires' in most cases. these are not going to be people who have income of $100,000 a year, when the position is we cannot touch the taxation of people whose income is over $1 million a year. they are multi-multi- millionaires. >> clearly, with the deficits
11:24 am
the country as racking up again this year -- more than $1 trillion -- we do not have the money to extend more provisions without savings to pay for a. we also know medicare does not have the money. it will be insolvent in 12 years without action by congress. today, we start some of the reforms, and frankly all the republicans and every democrat around this table has voted for them. this is the president's proposal. when he pounds the desk and says "i am sending you a bill," this is exactly what he is doing. he includes this in at this year. he has pitched this policy to senator kyl.
11:25 am
like the other two provisions today, it is a bipartisan provision that members of the other house support. i know senator casey is sincere in looking at higher taxes. but that approach has failed five times in the senate, just this session. 6 if you count unanimous rejection of the president's budget. with the clock ticking, i do not know how fruitful that is. why don't we focus on the policy republicans and democrats and the president have supported, and make sure that seniors who are retired and are making $160,000 or more pay a little more of their medicare premium. is what we have done in part d already.
11:26 am
it is clearly working well. at bipartisan proposals that can actually keep us from borrowing more money from lenders in foreign countries this year. this is one of those common sense provisions we ought to pass. at the end of the day, it seems today we're hearing no for the sake of hearing no. we have all voted yes on these proposals. so, why don't we agreed and accept them as bipartisan proposals and get on to the other bipartisan issues we have? i yield back. >> senator -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, let me concur with senator baucus. to me, it is a logical to say we are going to add medicare beneficiaries, -- we're going to
11:27 am
ask medicare beneficiaries, most of whom do not work, to pay for the payroll tax for working families. i concur with senator baucus of's observation -- senator baucus's observation that we should not be looking at this kind of offset for cost. i think the point that mr. levin raises is worth repeating. the intent is permanent until we reach 25%. one of out of every four seniors would be required. it would be as much as 25% of seniors that would be subject to this surtax. let me point out the financing mechanism for medicare allows
11:28 am
for people who make more to pay more for the same benefits. we ask those who are more well- off to contribute more currently. i think we need to emphasize that. as i am sure everyone here is aware, the payroll taxes people pay for social security is capped at $106,000. but the amount that is contributed by the fight the taxes -- fica taxes for medicare is not capped. if a person makes $100,000, they are paying into the medicare trust fund, whereas someone who is making the maximum on the social security withholding, $106,000, is paying little less than $1,600 into the medicare trust fund. so, we already have a progressive way for those who are more well-off paying for their benefits when they retire. secondly, we changed the law on
11:29 am
medicare part b in 2007. that has already been pointed out by chairman baucus. we have an increase starting at 35% and going up to 80%. that is already in law. and lastly, in the affordable care act, we put in an additional surtax going to 2013. i must tell you, in response to senator kyl, there is a big difference between someone who is earning taxable income over $1 million and someone who is retired to has an $80,000
11:30 am
income. there is a big difference here. i think we would acknowledge that difference. the last point i would make is this. medicare part b is a voluntary. the more we put these types of payment structures in place, the more people who are well off will choose notbut if they stare paying close to 100% of the cost, why would they opt into the system? i think this is a slippery slope to changing a program where all seniors are eligible to participate to one that is means tested and basically become a safety net program rather than a social insurance program. i think that is a dangerous path for us to go down. i think we have already taken responsible steps to make sure those who are well-off contribute more. i think this would take it too
11:31 am
far in that direction. i urge us to either modify or reject this. >> i would just say every democrat on this panel voted to freeze the income thresholds for a decade. president obama is suggesting to continue that for a bit longer until the top 25% of seniors are income threats -- income threshold tested. the president is suggesting, the democrats have voted. we are trying to find a way to pay for the policies we are doing, and to me, this is a bipartisan suggestion from the president that we're trying to get -- >> mr. chairman, i think you raised the 5%. >> currently, 80,000.
11:32 am
>> i want to make it clear. if it goes forward, it will be well over 25% of our seniors subjected to it. i think it is misleading to say 5%, because it will be a much larger number. it will ultimately affect a significant number of seniors. >> no, the current law is 5%. the president suggesting income thresholds and in the health care law, there were frozen for 10 years. >> i am trying to understand the house proposal on the agenda today. it first of all reduces the 85,000 threshold to 80,000. secondly, it freezes the increase, which was normal on bracket. it is my understanding that will lead us to the point that congressman levin mentioned, that it will be a significant percentage of our seniors will fall within these brackets. that is the point i was raising.
11:33 am
it is not just 5% of seniors, but a much larger percentage will be in the program. i thought that was the proposal from the house. >> which is the president's proposal. >> he also proposes a surtax on high income. >> the senate rejected that. however, had included that in their bill, that would be in the scope of conference. the senate rejected that. >> if we're going to get into the scope of conference issue -- >> well, we are. >> we have to listen to my republican colleagues how we have to come to gather. i agree with it. democrats and republicans have to come together. we're going to have to compromise. we want to make sure we are fiscally responsible. we have proposals that we can get the majority of democrats and republicans together.
11:34 am
the sooner we can get to those discussions, i think the better off we are. go through this list of issues that you are isolating -- i am not so sure it is helpful to reaching an agreement on the set of offsets that i think we should get to. if you are going to use the fact it is not in the house bill, then this is going to be a very tough month. >> you're asking us to consider something that has filled the senate repeatedly. >> as you know, it received 50 votes in the senate. >> well. >> we understand it was in context of a proposal that did not have the republican engaged in getting accomplished. we know what the democrats and republicans want to make sure we extend a payroll tax holiday by the end of this month. so we have the focus of both democrats and republicans on getting the job done for the
11:35 am
american people, and for middle- class families. i think we're all going to have to compromise. i expect there'll be things in this conference report i would prefer not to be in there, but that is what a compromise is about. i think republicans also have to understand that there will be things in here you may particularly not want to see in the conference. we can argue each of these points. my reason for raising this is, i think there are serious policy problems with this proposal. that is the preservation of medicare as a social insurance program, which is my point. >> we stepped all over the senate republicans time here. mr. levin. >> i think that was a very useful interchange. seriously. --on't think we need to tire
11:36 am
tie ourselves into knots. how much time -- >> 21 minutes left on the topic. how much time do we democrats -- >> we will continue to do rounds. we have 21 minutes. >> first of all, let's put in perspective with this conference is about. this is not a conference to reduce the deficit. this is a congress to extend some emergency measures. people are unemployed through no fault of their own because of a bad economy, a lot of which had to do with the policies of the previous administration. and now have a situation where these unemployed people are going to lose their benefits. if we do not extend their benefits, not only they, but their families would go without the basic amount of money to survive. secondly, and this is an
11:37 am
emergency so it should be treated as such. you do not pay for a crisis emergency. secondly, with a middle-class tax cut that we all say we want to support. this middle-class tax cut is one that many of us think should not be paid for at all because the upper income tax cuts have never been paid for. i am sure our republican colleagues will come at this -- the appearance a, extend the bush tax cuts but don't pay for them. we have to make sure the economy is improving. we need to find offsets where we're not putting the burden on the middle-class or the burden of the economy recovering. i do not think we should be putting it on medicare beneficiaries, seniors, middle- class workers. a surtax on millionaires, you might want to say over and over
11:38 am
it has not passed the senate, but that is not the test. the test is, what is a fair way to offset these costs? rather than suddenly deciding their some medicare beneficiaries are rich -- there are some medicare beneficiaries are rich and make them pay more, we will say those who are genuinely wealthy in our society should not pay more than their share of the taxes. who is rich and who is not? we already have a means testing of the medicare premium in the affordable care act. people who have higher incomes pay more for their medicare part b and part b premiums. the president proposed something. the president proposed something less drastic, but it was part of a large and long term deficit reduction package. we're not looking for a long term deficit reduction package. we're looking for something to
11:39 am
pay for the short-term cost of the payroll tax. therefore, i don't think we ought to impose this upon the medicare system. i think senator carden was articulate. we know people will leave part b is that to pay 90% of the cost of the medicare part b, because that is with the house republican proposal would impose upon them. medpac said right now we have cost sharing for part b and part d and amounts of 30% of the average social security benefit. you get social security benefit and live on that. this is a significant burden for those who have fixed incomes. it does not simply just affect the wealthy. in fact, let's decide who is wealthy. under the republican proposal in the house, when it goes fully into effect, 25% of seniors will
11:40 am
all be paying more for their medicare premium. that means people who now make $40,000 a year would be affected. i don't think any of us with the people who have $40,000 a year in income are wealthy or higher income. >> with the gentleman yield? >> no, i don't want to. i think the brackets are frozen under the proposal. >> but if you look at where people are today, the people who would be affected today when this is faced in would be those who today's dollars are making $40,000 a year. i think the point senator card and made, this distorts the medicare program. it takes away the social security, social insurance part of the end. when higher income people decide
11:41 am
to opt out rather than pay so much of their part b premium out of their own pockets, they will go elsewhere and buy private insurance policy. those are the healthier, wealthier people. they will leave medicare for the lower income people, which means the whole medicare system will increase in cost. i have heard a lot of sentiment about millionaires should not have to get a free ride, will the people should be required to pay more. yes, in their taxes. we're looking at the amt debate, higher income was defined as a taxpayer with income above $250,000. i just think this is unfair, distorts the medicare system, and will be a great burden on a lot of seniors. they already pay more for their medicare part b premiums.
11:42 am
they already pay more into the system over their working years in a medicare tax that is based on their income. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. congressman waxman, we keep hearing about emergency, emergency, emergency. what does that translate into? if this is an emergency, then the government should not have to pay for it and we should not have to find money for it, unless you want to tax the hard- working, small business owners who are our job providers in this country. that is what i am hearing. >> i think you're incorrect in what you're hearing. >> i am not yielding my time. if this were an emergency, we would have passed this at the end of the year 2011. emergency? this would have been taken care of. that is why what you're saying is completely and totally incorrect.
11:43 am
this is not an emergency. the american people are in hardship. we need to come up with solutions. we have got to pay for it. they want accountability. they want efficiency. they are tired of continuing on. senator, we keep hearing about fairness from the. fairness. the purveyor of fairness. how is it fair to continue to ask our seniors -- i apologize because i will digress for a moment -- house's fair we ask our seniors to have a cola freeze for two years and yet we will continue to pay our federal workers without that? how is that fair to our seniors? >> there was a freeze. >> do you want me to respond? >> the point being, that already existed. now you're basically saying are federal employees who make more than those in the private-sector should not be touched. moving on to this proposal, when
11:44 am
we're talking about individuals with medicare part b who are of the higher income, $400,000, we are asking them to pay in the medicare part b, it will pay a little over $300 a month for their premium. this is the president's proposal. the three provisions we have put forward today for the $70 billion are all bipartisan, have already been bipartisan, so why is it today in this conference committee that all of the set and it is not? -- all of this sudden it is not? these are things we have voted on in the past. that is why they were chosen, because there were already an agreement. yet somehow today, they are not. how is that possible? she voted for the pay freeze. that is a good indication of where we are at.
11:45 am
we're continuing on with this charade as if that is not the case. this is the president's language. which one will go to the president and tell him you do not agree with his policy? i would like to see that. we have got to move forward. we of all said this is a time sensitive issue. we should have taken care of by the end of the year. it should have been done, but it was not. so here we are today. let's move forward. we already all agree on these positions -- provisions. we're halfway there. i yield back. >> senator baucus. 11 minutes remaining. >> mr. chairman, i think what i am hearing is sort of the classic cherry picking. president obama suggested this, so we have to support the.
11:46 am
when in fact, what i believe the president suggested was a comprehensive plan to deal with the deficit, which included increasing taxes on the wealthiest americans. would you have said -- which we have said persistently is not in the cscope of this conference. what we're saying is we have to look for -- mr. waxman said it well -- constructive ways to fund these three programs, which i believe are designed to confront the real emergency in the country in terms of people without work, people who are working but need more money in their paychecks, and the srg situation. i think he suggest the senate has suggested -- i stand corrected, but we rejected the
11:47 am
house budget the came across with the medicare cuts. >> we all support it. >> everyone? >> every republican. >> well, that is why i open and up to be corrected. [laughter] >> that is ok. >> i believe in a fair exchange. but i believe in a position that you cannot go ahead and take a little from here and say, ok, we're at the bipartisan issue. it has to be a collective package. i think that is the point we have made over and over again. i think it would be terribly unfortunate to simply cut programs that benefit the same people who need these payroll tax cuts, who need these unemployment insurance cuts. to do that, i would hope very seriously that we can start
11:48 am
looking at constructive ways to deal with this issue. the points my colleagues have made i think are excellent. this goes way beyond what the president -- if you want to look at the president. as i understand it, from the information i have received, if his program with respect to these provisions, medicare part b enrollees, 14% of seniors would end up paying for it, not 25%. i think that is correct, under current law. again, the real point i want to make is you are sort of taking this -- taking these provisions out of context, individuals suggesting that because they have the president's endorsement, fell to recognize who is talking about much broader set of issues. frankly, if we're ready to start dealing with revenues, intimate
11:49 am
reductions, spending cuts, etc., then we will be there. but if it is selective provisions, i think it is unfair to characterize this is bipartisan. >> just to clarify, this was with the president submitted to the supercommittee as part of a larger package, but this also passed the house as a part of this bill with bipartisan support. so it has come now to the conference because of that. but it is identical to what he suggested. all of the items he sent the super committee or not some of interrelated and tied together. yes, there were a number of policy areas he made suggestions on, but it was really the senate republicans opportunity here.
11:50 am
>> thank you, mr. chairman. we're obviously running up against some very key philosophical and disagreements -- disagreements. it has been said this is not a conference to reduce the deficit. it's true. this conference a's job is not to put together the comprehensive deficit-reduction and debt package that our congress needs to do, but the work we're doing here is a very relevant to that effort. and at a minimum, this should be a conference to increase the deficit. we are talking about how to deal with extending the social security payroll tax roll relief, how to reform and extend the unemployment insurance benefits of the difficult times we face in our economy right now, and talking about how to reform medicare and the sgr to ensure seniors have
11:51 am
proper access to medical care for it and there are costs associated with each of those. but one of the points we have to remember our, just because we have issues that this conference is tending to deal with the reflect agreed costs that i think have broad agreement to support, does not mean we simply have a free hand to just below the debt out or to do so in a way that runs up the deficit. the bottom line is, we have got to remember as we conduct these deliberations that every one of the individuals that we have talked about in the context of our discussions today, whether the with regard to the premium support or whether it be with regard to adjustments to medicare or whether it be with regard to any other aspect of the offsets, and every one of the individuals we have talked
11:52 am
about today is impacted as much by the damage to our economy and the damage to their families and their jobs by are mounting national debt and our refusal to recognize we have got to stop the tax and spend approach of the government. as much as they are by these adjustments. we're trying to find some adjustments that have the least amount of pain. we're trying to find some adjustments that have broad support. but the bottom line is, we cannot simply always say, you know, we face some emergencies, we face a critical priority is that we need to address and because of that, we're just going to have to do what congress has always done -- just put it on the credit card. we cannot keep doing that. that is why we're having this difficult discussion today. and in the context of the question of whether we should address this problem by raising
11:53 am
taxes or by dealing with the spending side, i think there has been some legitimate agreement among all parties that the revenue peace as well as suspending peace need to be a part of how we approach it. we should remember, though, and if i understand this correctly -- i stand to be corrected if i am wrong on this, jack, the tax proposals are permanent tax increases. they don't just the one for two years or the year extension like we had for the payroll tax relief in the unemployment relief, but they are permanent. they go on indefinitely, even though there scored for 10 years. that is just one of the difficult parts of how to put together the kind of relief money to put together for deficit neutral, at least a deficit neutral package in this committee that would not ultimately represent a continued
11:54 am
expansion of the federal government's. i just want to make the point, i think is incorrect perceive this as a cherry picking or try to go in and identify some of these specific areas that seem to be easier achieved, and that that is somehow an inappropriate way to approach this. i really believe we have got to start recognizing although this is not the time and place where we will put together the large comprehensive debt package, it is the time and place for us to do the objectives of this committee's work in a way that is deficit neutral, and we have got to start finding the pieces as we do so. >> thank you. we're running out of time. do we want to do one more speaker on each side for the house? >> we need to limit it to that? what we're beginning to run out
11:55 am
of time. then we will move on to the next issue. >> i just want to say, mr. chairman, it is really not going to be helpful to refer to hr3630 as a bipartisan bill because it was not. i think we should just stop calling it a bipartisan bill. there were just a few democrats in the 98, 99% or whatever that voted against it. >> thank you. i want to say the reason we're here at this conference committee is because in spite of the house passed a bill, it did not pass the senate. so if we begin it, the only way we can reach a compromise is by accepting the house passed bill is not going to happen.
11:56 am
so i think the reason we're here is we ended up with a two-month agreement, an agreement to come back together and try again. in fact, republicans are very clear the one thing they're upset about is the extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax extension for 160 million americans and assurance we protect medicare access to physicians for beneficiaries was not long enough. we agree. we start where we agree where we want to meet those goals. to do it, there has to be some compromise -- with us and with the senate. otherwise, we're back to where we were, the reason we got here, at two-month extension. which you have already agreed you wanted to an extension -- that he wanted an extension. and should extend unemployment compensation and protect
11:57 am
medicare. the issue we're talking about in the segment is specifically, do we pay for it on the backs of seniors or counting on the promise of medicare to help pay for the medical expenses as seniors? understand the notion that seniors don't pay now for medicare is untrue. it was suggested they pay nothing. that is not true. you know the chart. you have seen it, you know it. it has been pointed out several times that if we have seniors already paying between 35%-80% of part b and part d, which is prescription care and physician services, that what you're calling for in this suggestion to pay for it is that it go
11:58 am
higher. and it continued to go higher and higher because we freeze the amount of the income. so over time, seniors will be asked to pay more and more of their medicare costs. i understand that is the goal. and on the budget committee and we have this debate all the time. the goal is to shift the cost to individual seniors. the reason medicare exists is because seniors in this country four years ago were going bankrupt because they could not pay for health care. we don't want to go back there. if you shift the cost to seniors, we will start to see seniors going bankrupt again so they cannot afford to see their physicians or get the health care they need. this is about health care security and income security for our seniors. so i suggest there are other discussions weaken have about medicare, and there might be, and there should be about deficit. but to pay for the middle-class
11:59 am
tax cuts we have all agreed to, we don't believe we should pay for the emergency spending for unemployment compensation or protect medicare beneficiaries access to doctors that it should not be paid for by their pain increasing amounts for their benefits this will end medicare as we know it. it is a cost shift ending race at a time when i think it is inappropriate for us to pay for these expenses in this way. a helping get back to meeting those costs and a responsible way. >> we will break away for -- for this but we will show you more later programming. the house is gaveling back in.
12:00 pm
also, another in a series of bills, republicans bringing to the floor that would change the federal budgeting process is when changing the way the cost of federal loans are calculated. it would require the budgets of mortgage providers fannie mae and freddie mac to be included in the federal budget. also, likely this afternoon as the spring and sermon for new representative of oregon who won the special election last week for the seat formerly held by david woo. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, reverend jeffrey estrogen temple beth israel, york, pennsylvania. the chaplain: almighty source of strength, peace, and compassion, i stand humbly
12:01 pm
before you to ask your blessing upon those who serve our great nation, to all who dedicate themselves to its prosperity and security. grant to each member of this house the wisdom and vision to look steadfastly toward our future, to labor earnestly for the welfare of all, and to consider wholeheartedly the passion and sacrifice of those who came before us who helped to preserve and foster the noblist ideals for which our nation stands. today especially we consider the valor of those four army chaplains whose selfless acts of heroism, 69 years ago, not only saved the lives of others but inspire us to serve in our own day to continue our
12:02 pm
partnership in your ever unfolding acts of creation on earth. may the memories of the four chaplains and the ideals for which they lived ever remain a blessing and let us say, amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from new york, mr. turner. mr. turner: please join me in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. platts, is recognized for one minute. mr. platts: thank you, mr.
12:03 pm
speaker. i'm honored to host our guest chaplain, rabbi jeffrey astrican to give today's opening prayer. he's here today to help honor the sacrifice of the fourth chaplains who gave their lives during the sinking of the troop ship dorchester during world war ii. this is especially significant because one of the four chaplains, lieutenant alexander degood was once a rabbi with the same congregation in york, pennsylvania, my hometown that rabbi astracan now serves. along with the rabbi i'm pleased to take this opportunity to recognize the courageous sacrifice made 62 years ago by the four chaplains. 69 years ago by the four chaplains. the dorchester was torpedoed off the coast of greenland. over 230 of the over 900 men onboard survived. the survivors recounted the story of the heroic actions of the four chaplain of different faiths, lieutenant goode,
12:04 pm
lieutenant john washington, a catholic priest, and lieutenants george foxx, and clark pulling, two protestant ministers. they spent their last 18 minutes in this life helping their fellow passengers to safety. when there were no more life jack ggets to hand out they removed their own and gave them to shipmates. they were last seen in the hull of the shape arm in arm in prayer as it sank. chaplain's hill is home to several memorials to chaplains. last year the united states house of representatives adopted legislation to include a memorial to the 14 jewish chaplains who gave their lives in world war ii and the korean and vietnam wars. today we honor not just the four chaplains of the dorchester for the sacrifices and selflessness made by military chaplains of all faiths. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication.
12:05 pm
the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on february 7, 2012, at 10:40 a.m. that the senate passed with an amendment, h.r. 347, that the senate passed senate 1794. with best wishes i am, signed sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will entertain up to 15 further requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? mr. wilson: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, on january 4, the president abused his exec tough authority and appointed three new members of the national labor relations board claiming a recess appointment, but the senate was not in recess.
12:06 pm
by making this decision, the president ignored the senate's confirmation and practice outlined by article 1, section 5 of the united states constitution. earlier today the house education and work force committee ably led by chairman john kline -- john kleine, held a hearing on this conduct. the president has used the national labor relations board as a big labor bully to advance his political agenda and threaten the jobs of america's small businessings. due to the -- businesses. due to the legal uncertainty of the president's appointments, each decision of the board could allow for legal challenges costing job creators and taxpayers more money. house republicans will work to protect hardworking taxpayers from this administration's failed policies which are destroying jobs. in conclusion, god bless our troops. we will never forget the four chaplains and september 11 and the global war on terrorism. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition?
12:07 pm
the gentlelady from california is recognized. >> mr. speaker, the clock is ticking on extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for millions of americans. ms. bass: in three short weeks, people barely surviving on unemployment benefits will be out on the streets. in three short weeks 160 million people who get paychecks would have to pay the government nearly $1,000 more. unfortunately house republican leadership insists on unrelated ideological legislation, freezing the pay of middle class public servants for a third time in three years, slashing unemployment benefits by 40 weeks, and drug testing americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. i don't think my republican colleagues understand the plight of americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, so i'm asking my constituents and people from around the country to go to my website, karenbass.house.gov and send in stories about their efforts to look for work. i will share these stories with
12:08 pm
my republican colleagues to help them understand in hopes they will do the right thing. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. >> this year's tribute to our lost four chaplains last seen on the decks of the usat dorchester offering comfort and their own chance for survival to others is particularly poignant. for it was this past year that these men were reunited at this country's most haloed -- hallowed grounts, arlington national cemetery. mr. miller: with a recognition long overdue of rabbi alexander d. goode and all the jewish war chaplain who is have served this nation in faith, the four chaplains stand watch once again over their flock from chaplain's hill. providence most definitely brought them together after history attempted to break their bond. and so 69 years later we
12:09 pm
reinforce the bonds of faith that no man can break and pay our respects to chaplains fox, polling, washington, and rabbi goode, and hon honor their sacrifice to their great nation. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does does the gentlelady from new york seek -- for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york seek recognition? the gentlelady from new york is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. three years ago this week and unbleakable tragedy occurred with a plane full of people loved by their families crashed through a home in clarence center in my district. the cause was pilot fatigue and inexperience and the cruel irony that occurred over valentine's weekend was lost on no one. ms. hochul: out of those ashes rose a spirit among these families that united them in their grief and brought their quest right here to the halls in washington. they wanted to ep sure no other family had to ensure having
12:10 pm
their hearts ripped out the way they had. they never took no for an answer. they never gave up. and they inspired congress to work in a bipartisan way to pass historic flight safety reform rules. that's why i'm joining with my colleagues from western new york in introducing a resolution to honor them and thank the families of 3407 and to call on the administration to finish the work they started. until this is translated into new rules we do not give up the fight because the families are counting on us. they never gave up the fight. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speakerment over the past month i heard from many of my constituents about the closing of the contract post office in my
12:11 pm
district, the south temple post office. my constituents enjoy going to the south temples post office because it is fast, efficient, and service is outstanding. however the united states postal service recently announced it would be closing this office along with 19 other contract postal units. why? because these contract post offices are not hiring enough union workers who are allegedly taking union jobs away from the main branches. in other words even though the united states postal service was $8.5 billion in the hole in 2010, and the owner of the south temple office sent a check of $1 million every year to the postal service, under the contract, they have decided to close it because of union dispute. mr. carter: this is just plain wrong. my constituents should have a choice of which post office they want to use and use the one that serves them the best.
12:12 pm
if the privately owned contract office is performing better, they should be able to use that privately owned contract office. rest assured i will fight this nonsense and try to get this office left open. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? the gentleman from new york is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i rise today along with my colleague, congresswoman kathy hochul, to recognize the upcoming third anniversary of the tragic crash of continental connection flight 3407 in my western new york community. mr. higgins: this tragedy unfortunately was preventible. the national transportation safety board found that the chief cause of the crash was pilot error. in august of 2010, provepl signed into law aviation safety legislation which, among other things, required the federal aviation administration to update flight and duty time rules and set minimum requirements -- rest requirements for pilots.
12:13 pm
as the families know too well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of that day. they persevered, they achieved the moats comprehensive aviation reform -- most comprehensive aveyigs reform in 50 years. these efforts they were guided by their faith and by the light of those they loved and lost. we recognize their extraordinary extraordinary efforts on behalf of the western new york community, flying public, and a grateful nation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? >> speak for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, my fellow colleagues, it is a distinct pleasure to stand before you right now not only as a representative but as a fan. i would like to take a few moments and acknowledge the new york giants for defeating the new england patriots sunday
12:14 pm
night. they were the underdogs but our beloved g men didn't lack people's lack of faith or doubt distract them from their end goal. instead, they showed new york's resilience by fighting back to a win in the fourth quarter earning their last super bowl title in the last five years and fourth super bowl title overtall. mr. turner: the giants have won eight world championships and rank as one of the most successful football franchises of all time. as giant head coach, tom coughlin said, after the game, all things are possible for those who believe. and these guys believed and they came together and trusted each other and believed in one another. i think this is a terrific message for everyone to think about, especially those of us holding the distippingt honor of being members of the house of representatives. there is still a great deal of
12:15 pm
work to be done on behalf of the american people. we must come together for a joint purpose, we must give our constitutes a reason to believe we can work together on their behalf. just as the members of the gint team played hard for the people of new york, we must work hard for our constituents. again i would like to congratulate the new york giants, the head coach, super bowl 46 m.v.p. eli manning and all the great fans of new york. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> request permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this day marks a sad anniversary for many of the folks i represent, four years ago today a combustible dust explosion destroyed the imperial sugar plant in georgia killing 14 people and energy more than 40 others. the sad truth is that this explosion didn't have to happen. experts have known about the dangers of compussible --
12:16 pm
combustible dust for decades. and they can be prevented. unfortunately these commonsense practices have not become the national standard despite preventable explosion and fires in georgia and throughout america before and since. mr. barrow: i ask my colleagues to support h.r. 52 , the worker protection against combustible dust explosions and fires act of 2011 introduced by mr. miller of california this. law would require the secretary of labor to promulgate standards for regulating combustible dust. we shouldn't wait until another disaster strikes, we owe it to the dead and wounded to take action today so that disasters like the imperial sugar explosion will never happen again. with that mr. speaker, i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman ask for unanimous consent? >> yes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to speak about an issue that's deeply important to me, not as
12:17 pm
a republican or democrat, but as a catholic american. president obama's department of health and human services announced it will require religious institutions like catholic schools, catholic hospitals and catholic charities to cover services that violate their core beliefs, like contraceptions, sterilization and the morning-after pill. cat lick schools like notre dame will force to pay millions in penalties if they don't comply with the federal mandate. now, this is about more than just about contraception. this is about catholic schools and catholic hospitals having to sacrifice conscience to comply with obamacare. i believe that this is a clear violation of the free exercise clause of the first amendment of the constitution and what's worse, i believe this is a move by the obama administration to establish secularism over religion. mr. rooney: that would strike at the core of religious -- of the religious liberty of the constitution and who we are as
12:18 pm
americans. it's just one more reason why obamacare is bad law and it needs to be repealed. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman seek unanimous consent? mr. defazio: well, if necessary, yes. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. defazio: i thank the gentleman. ronald reagan signed legislation that funded transit out of the highway trust fund. the new republican majority is going to end transit's eligibility for highway trust fund dollars. but they crealted an alternative transportation account. it will be paid for by the general fund. only problem is paying for transit at current levels under an alternative scenario would blow another $40 billion hole in the budget, but they have a plan. they're going to require federal employees to pay 6% of their salary into a trust fund. that's about $40 billion over five years, but they're not
12:19 pm
taxing federal employees to pay for transit. don't worry about that because that money can't be spent on transit but it will make it look like they are, you know, not spending more money. in reality they will borrow $40 billion to pay for transit, instead of paying for it by user fees out of the highway trust fund but they'll pretend they are not adding more money to the federal deficit but let employees set aside 6% for this offset. good work, guys. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? >> to ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. >> mr. speaker, we have within our grasp the opportunity to boldly address two of america's greatest challenges -- energy security and unemployment. these two issues are
12:20 pm
inextricably linked. we can no longer tal rate a stagnant, slow-growth economy that's saddled with historic unemployment rates and a dangerous depentens on foreign oil. a key solution to these problems is energy, specifically american energy. the president said in this house that we must have an all-of-the-above strategy to energy independence. i agree. that includes harvesting the energy in every corner of america, including the 3.8 billion barrels of oil and gas off the coast of virginia. mr. rigell: last week i introduced the mid-atlantic energy and jobs act of 2012 to free up virginia's abundant offshore energy. this legislation will help us achieve energy independence and can produce more than 18,000 local jobs, and it requires a significant amount of the royalties produced by the exploration to go toward improving our environment. the time to act is now, and this congress, this president,
12:21 pm
we're americans, let's do this. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from ohio seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from ohio is recognized. ms. fudge: today i rise to address the need for jobs in this country. on wednesday we will have reached 400 days sibs the republicans took control of the house without a jobs bill. even though my colleagues and i have been calling for and demanding action. the president has set forth a jobs plan that would allow americans to get to work and for us to invest in this great country. by focusing on improving our infrastructure, fixing our roads, schools and bridges, by providing incentives to hire veterans by giving small businesses the support they need to grow and expand, and by cutting payroll taxes for 160 million workers to leave more money in the pockets of consumers. the members of delta sigma
12:22 pm
delta sorority will ask congress to do what is best for the interest of americans still trying to find jobs. i urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting job growth and investment in this nation now. i yield back, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. >> mr. speaker, today i rise in support of national school choice because we need to offer our children effective education opportunities and in michigan, despite spending just shy of $10,000 annually to educate each child, we need to look at a couple of facts. one, only 31% of eighth graders are actually considered proficient in math. the other element that is very disheartening to me is that one child drops out of school in every 26 seconds. we have an obligation to give to parents the tools and
12:23 pm
resources to get their children out of bad educational environments and into better ones. as a member of congress i support school choice and allow states to opt out of the no child left behind program and use educational resources in a way best to meet their local needs, not the needs of washington, d.c. it should be up to parents, not government, to choose what's best for their children. better traditional schools, public charter schools, private schools, virtual education and homeschooling. mr. huizenga: i advocate for these opportunities when i sat on a board of a public charter school in michigan. i also served as director of development at a christian school, and most importantly as i was a parent, along with my wife, who homeschooled our children. those of us in congress must continue to encourage and champion school reform. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? ms. wasserman schultz: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to
12:24 pm
revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida is recognized. ms. wasserman schultz: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to honor the incredible story of the dorchester four chap lanes. the brave and moral chaplain,s -- chaplains, was above the transport ship as they sunk into icy waters in 1943. these leaders of different states gave up their life jackets stood strong, sharing words of healing and peace as the ship went on. we are fortunate to have the rabbli here to honor their sacred memory. he serves the same congregation where rabbi goode once served, continuing to honor his legacy. the four chaplains, fox, goode, washington, and polling serve as inspiration in their military service and their sacrifice for our country. their american tale of faith and courage now has an ending
12:25 pm
we can proudly commemorate as all four of these men are honored on chaplains hill at arlington national cemetery. for nearly 200 years our breathtaking military cemetery has been a place to provide sacred and majestic setting fitting to our nation's heroes. thanks to the dedication of many of our colleagues, we have each of these faith groups where we can honor their sacrifice together. this is a testament and courage of all. thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from tennessee seek recognition? >> question unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee is recognized. mrs. black: i am here to talk about my bill, to prevent the president from filing lawsuits
12:26 pm
against states over their immigration enforcement laws. in the last three years, eight states have adopted immigration enforcement measures to address the illegal alien populations in their states. and in response the department of justice and eric holder have pursued unprecedented lawsuits against these states. mr. speaker, there are over 10 million unauthorized aliens in this country, and states must be able to enforce the law if the federal government refuses to. and states should not have to live in fear of federal retribution for trying to keep their citizens safe. my bill, h.r. 3842, would deny the obama administration and eric holder the funding for these meritless lawsuits. until the supreme court decides the case against arizona's s.b. 1070, congress must use our power of the purse to stop these political lawsuits and allow states to uphold the law.
12:27 pm
i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from ohio seek recognition? ms. kaptur: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from ohio is recognized. ms. kaptur: everybody is talking about crisler super bowl commercial halftime in america. it featured clint eastwood. that inspirational ad has gone viral as people share its positive message about our country and our workers. trust me, mr. speaker, in america's heartland we know about hard times. our people have been through a lot these last few years, but that commercial has it right. we took a punch but we're still standing. president obama made a bet on america's workers and companies and it saved thousands of jobs. it saved our industry. this country can't be knocked out with one punch, clint eastwood says. we get right back up again. and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our
12:28 pm
engines. you can already hear that roar in toledo. we're building jeeps day and night. you can hear it in lorraine, too, avon lake, brook lake and parma. we are going to win this competition and we are going to win it with teamwork and we are going to win it because we want it more. gentlemen and gentleladies, start your engines. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> to ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized. ms. chu: i hear over and over from small businesses that the one thing they need in these tough times is customers, and who is the biggest customer? the federal government. each year the government spends $500 billion on federal contracts, but only 20% is going to small firms. small businesses create two out of every three new jobs. so for us to grow the economy we have to give small businesses a bigger slice of the federal contracting pie. today, i am introducing the
12:29 pm
building better business partnerships act. this bill will help small firms break into federal contracting by making it easier for them to join mentor protege programs. these programs partner small businesses with companies already contracting with government. it gives small firms a foot in the door so they can navigate the federal process, get experience on a contract and eventually win a federal job of their own and that means more work and a new customer for small businesses everywhere. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from wisconsin seek recognition? >> -- ms. baldwin: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from wisconsin is recognized. ms. baldwin: mr. speaker, i rise on behalf of the middle-class workers in wisconsin and across the country who have unfairly been paying a higher tax rate than millionaires and billionaires. middle-class americans deserve to know that our tax system has
12:30 pm
not been rigged against them. powerful special interests have manipulated our tax code to make sure that the wealthiest americans don't have to pay their fair share. these loopholes and special provisions have made it so that billionaire warren buffett's secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does. in fact, approximately a quarter of all millionaires pay lower effective tax rates than middle-class families. yesterday, i introduced the paying a fair share act, h.r. 3903, which would make the buffett rule law and ensure that middle-class workers do not pay higher tax rates than those earning more than $1 million a year. i invite my colleagues to join me in taking this commonsense first step to strengthen middle-class families and
12:31 pm
rebuild our economy with a commitment to shared responsibility. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back. . search for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia vedged. mr. woodall: mr. speaker, i thank you for the one minute. it's the tax code that brings me down to the house floor today to -- if you care about special interest tax breaks in this town, there is only one bill in the u.s. house of representatives that eliminates every single special interest tax break in the united states code, every break, every exception, every exemption, every favor. that's h.r. 25, the fair tax, mr. speaker. you know about the fair tax. it's the most widely co-sponsored fundamental tax reform proposal in the entire u.s. house of representatives. it's the most widely co-sponsored proposal in the entire united states senate. and it is the only bill in congress that solves every single special interest break. the only one.
12:32 pm
and it brings american manufacturing jobs back to america. puts the american manufacturing community on a level playing field with our foreign competitors. the only bill in congress that gets that done. mr. speaker, if you want to see more about it, you know you can see it at www.thomas.gov. you can see it at www.fairtax.org. it is h.r. 25 and it will save this american economy. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from the district of columbia seek recognition? ms. norton: to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady seek unanimous consent? ms. norton: by unanimous consent. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. norton: mr. speaker, the party line from republican leaders is that republicans agree on a payroll tax cut holiday. they just need to find a way to pay for it. but republican members speak a different language. georgia republican paul broun told the press, quote, the
12:33 pm
payroll tax holiday is just a gimmick to get obama, re-elected. end quote. that will be news to the average american family who will see their taxes increase by $1,000 on march 1 without a table tax agreement. the press reports a serious republican split with only a 50-50 chance that republicans can get their members to agree on a payroll tax deal. line that 50-50 republican split up against their nearly unanimous opposition to having wealthy and corporate taxpayers contribute one dime to deficit reduction. i'll leave it to the republican leadership to reconcile these issues and their caucus. meanwhile, the clock ticks louder each day. republicans have 22 days to make up their minds on whether every worker who draws a paycheck deserves a tax cut. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman
12:34 pm
from new york seek recognition? mr. rangel: i ask unanimous consent that i be allow the to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. rangel: thank you, mr. speaker. today, members of congress -- today members of congress and others will see 1,000 women of color listening all of our office, they call themselves the delta sorority. and here in the leadership is provided by judge fudge as they come close to celebrating their 100th anniversary. they have a legislative agenda, a community agenda, a civic agenda, and one of the things they like to point out is that today we recognize the terrible epidemic of aids and i.v. problems we have with blood. we hope that we learn to educate more people about the
12:35 pm
danger of aids. that we provide better treatment. and even better than that, that we avoid it by having preventive measures so it doesn't happen at all. also on their agenda is making certain that the payroll deductions for working poor people are extended. that unemployment compensation is not only fiscally but morally the right thing to do. and we pay our debts, pay the doctors that serve the aged. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today with my democratic colleagues ready to work for all americans. unfortunately this no-show tea party republican congress, which worked only six days
12:36 pm
during the entire month of january, is once again refusing to do its job. you see, at the end of february taxes will increase for 160 million middle class americans unless the mitt romney tea party republicans drop their incessant demands to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires. i ask my tea party colleagues to stop holding the payroll tax cut hostage. we must protect unemployment insurance and fix the medicare payment schedule so that seniors can see the doctor of their choice. it's time for this tea party brinksmanship to come to an end, for republicans to come to work, and for this congress to go to work for the american people not just the millionaires and billionaires. i yield back, mr. speaker.
12:37 pm
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from american samoa seek recognition? mr. faleomavaega: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from american samoa is recognized. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, just recently president obama offered a plan to reduce the high costs of higher education by putting pressures on colleges and universities to reduce tuition rates. under the prime colleges would be rewarded based on their ability to offer relatively lower tuition fees, provide value, and serve low-income students. this plan plan also coincides with key proposal by president obama to make higher education more affordable, including president obama's announcement last fall to consolidate federal student loans and lower interest rates to have college graduates pay off their debt. mr. speaker, the american dream is all about providing americans the opportunity to succeed if they work hard. every american family should be
12:38 pm
able to afford higher education. every young person should have a chance. i commend president obama for his commitment to american families and for making higher education an economic imperative. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized. ms. lee: thank you, mr. speaker. as the founding co-chair of the h.i.v. caucus -- caucus, i rise to honor h.i.v. awareness day. february 7 is the important day to recognize the effect this epidemic has on african-americans. although a 14% of the u.s. population, fringe fingerprints account for almost half of those living and dying with h.i.v. and aids in this country. this year's theme, i am my brother's keeper, i am my sister's keeper, people of faith know it's unacceptable that a woman of color in the united states is 15 times more
12:39 pm
likely to be living with h.i.v. than a white woman her age. people of faith know that it's unacceptable that our young men, particularly gay and bisexual men, are most affected in this country. we cannot allow this crisis to continue. mr. speaker, we have the tools we need to end the aids epidemic. i urge everyone to get tested and take steps to protect themselves from the virus. i call on members of the faith community, the private sector, health organizations, community leaders, teachers, parents, and the media to come together like never before. the story of african-americans is one of resilience. i have great hope and expectation that we can once again persevere and we can stamp h.i.v. and aids from the face of the earth. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? mr. woodall: mr. speaker, by direction of the committee on
12:40 pm
rules i call up house resolution 539 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 110, house resolution 539, resolved, that at any time after the adoption of this resolution the speaker may, pursuant to clause 2-b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 3581, to amend the balanced budget and emergency deficit control act of 1985. to increase transparency and federal budgeting, and for other purposes. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on the budget. after general debate, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. in lieu of the amendment in the nature of a substitute
12:41 pm
recommended by the committee on the budget, now printed in the bill, it shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule an amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of rules committee print 112-13. that amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. all points of order against that amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. no amendment to that amendment to the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in report of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a member designated in the report. shall be considered as read. shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to demand for division of the question in the house or in the committee of the whole.
12:42 pm
all points of order against such amendments are waived. at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment, the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such amendments as may have been adopted. any member may demand a separate vote in the house on any amendment adopted in the committee of the whole to the bill or to the amendment in the nay a substitute made in order as original text. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for one hour. mr. woodall: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. woodall: mr. speaker, for the purpose of debate only i yield the customary 30 minutes to my friend from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern, peppeding which time i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. woodall: during consideration of this resolution, all time is yielded
12:43 pm
for the purpose of debate only. about house resolution 539, this resolution provides a structured rule for the consideration of h.r. 3581, the budget and accounting transparency act. this is another bill in a series of 10 bills that the budget committee is sending forward, mr. speaker, to try to align the kind of accounting and budgeting that we do in washington with the kind of accounting and budgeting that happens in the real world. we know transparency and sound accounting matter. we know that it matters on wall street. we know that it matters on main street. it matters right here between independents and constitution -- independence and constitution avenue. mr. speaker, this bill has three primary provisions. number one, it provides transparency by bringing off budget items on budget. now, for folks who don't follow this as closely as you and i do, mr. speaker, you know when things are off budget, their degree of scrutiny is changed. when things are off budget the
12:44 pm
impact they have on the american taxpayer is not always reflected. when we take those things from off budget and bring them on budget, we begin to show the american taxpayer the real cost of the risk and responsibility. number two, it reforms the accounting method we use to calculate how at risk american taxpayers are under federal credit programs, again to bring us closer to private sector models. mr. speaker, as you well know when a dollar goes out the door from this united states capitol and a dollar goes out the door from the united states treasury, it is a loan program. there is no guarantee that dollar comes back. our most folks faithful payers? yes, they are. does every dollar come back? no, it doesn't. we need to look further than fannie and freddie to see that model. for the first time we begin to account for that risk so the american taxpayer understands when their american government guarantees a loan what potential impact that has on
12:45 pm
their pocketbook at home. and finally, mr. speaker, it requires all federal agencies to post their budget justifications on line in a timely manner. now, you saw last week, mr. speaker, we were able to pass the baseline reform act, which said no longer will we just assume every agency is going to spend more. for the first time we'll say every agency needs to justify any increases they receive in their budget. what this provision does is go one step further to say, when you are producing that budget, post your justifications online, what the american people -- let the american people in. mr. speaker, if we have nothing to hide in this ibs constitution, then continuing to publish more and more information so the american people can come into this discussion process is only going to lead us in the right direction. . taken together these three reforms, bring together the kind of attention we need to a budget process that has been long broken. we cannot make america's future brighter and more secure if we
12:46 pm
continue to escalate the debt that we pass on to our children and their grandchildren. clearly this body has struggled in years' past to contain that debt. both sides of the aisle. clearly folks occupying 1600 pennsylvania avenue have struggled to contain that debt on both sides of the aisle. mr. speaker, the folks who see these issues with clarity live back home in my seventh district of georgia. they understand what it means to do budgeting around the family dinner table. i know my colleague from massachusetts has those same folks in his district facing those same challenges in his district, and if we can bring those people into the discussion, mr. speaker, if we can just be honest with our constituents back home about the magnitude of the problem, we will have their support and their involvement to turn this page for america's financial future. mr. speaker, we can't stick our
12:47 pm
heads in the sand. next week we're expecting the budget from the white house to arrive here on capitol hill. we are -- we were expecting it this week. they delayed it one week. mr. speaker, i believe we are going to have a serious budget discussion with the white house for the first time in the three years of this administration. we're going to have a serious budget dropped on our doorstep and then the budget committee is going to be involved in a serious discussion about how to bring the white house's priorities and the house's priorities in line with the american people's priorities. that process does not happen in a vacuum. that process happens in the funshine, the bright daylight that is in this u.s. chamber, mr. speaker, and with this reform, combined with the other nine reforms coming out of the budget committee, we are taking steps forward to change forever
12:48 pm
the way this town does its budgeting business. i am very proud to sit on both the rules committee and the budget committee, to have a hand in both the underlying legislation and this resolution today. i urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution, mr. speaker, so we can bring up the underlying bill. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, i want to thank the gentleman from georgia for yielding me the customary 30 minutes. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks, and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, let me begin by urging a no vote on this rule which is not open and a no vote on the underlying bill. the bill before us does nothing to improve the quality of life for any american. it doesn't create a single job, not one job is created by this bill we're talking about today. this bill is going nowhere in
12:49 pm
the united states senate. i don't believe this is a serious effort. in short, we are wasting our time. mr. speaker, i cannot stress this enough. congress must keep our focus on the most important priority facing the american people and that is jobs. jobs, jobs, jobs. democrats may sound like a broken record, but that's because we know that the core issue of our time is the economy and jobs. we need to do more to make sure that america's businesses get back on track and that the american people are in position to succeed when these businesses start to hire. now, we had some good news last week. the unemployment rate decreased for the fifth month in a row, falling to 8.3%. at the same time we had five straight months of job creation and we're in the 23rd consecutive month of private sector growth. the economy looks like it's rebounding and if this trend holds that's a good thing, but while private sector employers
12:50 pm
added 257,000 jobs in january, there was a loss of 14,000 government jobs, including 11,000 local government jobs. now, the reason for that, mr. speaker, quite frankly is because the federal government is cutting away and state governments are cutting away, and these so-called government jobs are being eliminated. the jobs that my friends on the other side of the aisle like to demonize. but what are these local government jobs? mr. speaker, these are cops, firefighters, teachers, librarians and trash collectors. they are not faceless bureaucrats. they are people who make our life safer, better and cleaner every day. and they are our neighbors and our friends and our family members. so despite the relatively good news about the improving economy, we are clearly not where we need to be. payroll employment is still 5.6 million jobs short of where it was at the beginning of the great recession in december of 2007. there were four jobless workers for every job opening and
12:51 pm
long-term unemployment is still at historic high levels. it is clear that this rebound is slow and painstaking as it is is taking place in spite of house republicans and in spite of their policies, not because of them. in fact, i believe actions taken on policies voted down have slowed down this economic recovery, have slowed down this -- and republicans should be doing everything they can to prevent a tax increase on middle-class republicans. congressional republicans should do everything they can to extend unemployment insurance for those unemployed through no fault of their own. yet, mr. speaker, they continue to drag their feet on this legislation and in fact continue to bigger among themselves about the need to extend these programs. this should be a no-brainer. this should be something that both sides should come together and be able to approve immediately. yet, it's become this theater, this drama that plays out and
12:52 pm
nobody quite knows how it's going to end. mr. speaker, we're one week into february, more than one month into the new year, more than 13 months into the new republican-controlled congress and we have yet to see one meaningful jobs bill. no wonder congress' approval rating is at historic lows. and instead of bringing legislation to the floor that would help the economy, like a clean extension of the payroll tucks and unemployment insurance -- tax and unemployment insurance, the g.o.p. would like to bring up misguided rules so they can score cheap political points. house republicans are simply trying to change the rules of the game to benefit their own pint of view. this so-called budgeting and accounting transparency act is another sham bill to try to change the rules of budgeting. this may seem like inside baseball to some but it is really something quite extraordinary. simply the republicans, with
12:53 pm
this bill, are attempting to artificially inflate the cost of federal credit programs. they do so by changing the way government credit programs are calculated. the federal budget is supposed to count the amount of money that is spent and the revenue received. if there is more money coming in than going out it's a surplus. the opposite is a deficit. what the republican leadership is trying to do with this bill is recalculate the way these credit programs are scored or counted in the budget process automatically making them more expensive. they do so by treating government credit programs similar to a private credit program. now on top of changing these credit programs are scored, it's important to point out this bill does not apply to all federal programs. in other words, we would have one set of scoring rules for one set of federal programs and another one just for the federal credit programs. that doesn't make any sense to me. if some of these recent budget bills were any indication, the
12:54 pm
house republican leadership cares more about rigging the budget process just to dismantle the federal safety net instead of actually working to reduce the deficit and at the same time spur job creation. mr. speaker, we should be talking about jobs. we should be acting on the president's jobs plan. our committee work should be focused on how do we get this economy running again, what should be on the floor today is not a bill that's going nowhere but a bill that will help put people back to work. you know, we put more people back to work and this economy begins to recover more, then we can grow out of this deficit. and i would just again urge the republican leadership to stop bringing stuff to the floor that really i believe is a waste of our time. bring things to the floor that are meaningful, in a will make a difference in the lives of the american people, that will improve the quality of lives of
12:55 pm
people in this country. i urge a no vote on this rule and the underlying bill. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from georgia. mr. woodall: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume to say to my colleague from massachusetts, i always look for those areas of agreement because i know that we have some. i know that we have some, and i had a tough time finding those areas of agreement in that particular presentation, but when you got to your discussion about the theater that takes place on this house floor, i began to feel that personal bond, mr. speaker, because this feels like theater to me. this is a rule that my friend is urging a no vote on that does one thing and one thing only. it brings to the floor a budget changing provision that will shine more of a spotlight on what it is this congress does when it comes to spending the american people's money.
12:56 pm
it does one thing and one thing only and that is to give the american taxpayer more insight into what it is that my colleagues and i are doing what the money that we have taken from them. now, you might say, mr. speaker, well, what if i oppose that sunshine, what if i don't want daylight in the process? what if i have things that i don't want the american people know that i am doing? well, vote no. this bill has made in order every single democratic amendment that was germane to the underlying legislation. hear that. hear that. for folks who don't like the way the bill was crafted, of course, we had a full hearing and markup in the budget committee, but for folks who don't like the way that bill came out, sometimes congresses in the past would just shove a bill to the floor and say take it or leave it.
12:57 pm
but this bill, mr. speaker, is coming to the floor with a rule that said, tell me, colleagues, republicans and democrats, tell me how it is that we can make this bill better and every single idea and suggestion that was germane to the underlying bill this rule makes in order. so i ask you, mr. speaker. why vote no on this rule? if you don't like the underlying legislation, vote no on the underlying legislation. but this rule is a rule that this entire house can be proud of, and i'm proud to be able to carry it for the rules committee today. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. speaker, let me i yield myself such time as i may consume. the reason why people should vote no on this rule is because it's not an open rule, number one. the other reason why people should vote no on this rule is because it enables bad behavior. the bad behavior is bringing a
12:58 pm
bills that are going nowhere that aren't very serious. what we should be bringing to the floor right now is a clean extension of the payroll tax cut for middle-class americans, you know, and the extension of unemployment insurance. that's what we should be talking about. that's what should be on the floor. instead that measure, which will actually help people, is bogged down in conference because of ideological battles that my right-wing friends choose to wage. what we should be doing on this floor is putting the american people back to work and helping grow this economy through creating more jobs. the bill before us does nothing to address the critical challenges facing america's families. it doesn't create a single job. it does nothing to address our serious budgetary challenges. this bill does not increase revenues or reduce spending. it does nothing to cut the deficit. we are sitting here talking about something that really is, again, going nowhere and it really doesn't matter in the scheme of things. we should be talking about jobs
12:59 pm
and how we get this economy moving again. with that, mr. speaker, it is my privilege to yield four minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. andrews. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for four minutes. mr. andrews: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. andrews: i thank my friend for yielding the time. the month the president took office, the u.s. economy was in the midst of a horrible collapse into oblivion for a lot of american families. the economy lost 700,000 jobs the month the president took office. last friday we had the news that the economy gained over a quarter of a million private sector jobs. this is welcome news. we have a lot of work to do. this is not nearly sufficient to restore the american dream to america's middle class and really kind of fuel the kind of recovery we really need. now, the president came to this floor 152 days wi

33 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on